Want A Deliciously Civilised Mexican Brunch?

Head to Loca at The Dubai Marine Beach Resort and Spa

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I’m penning this review at 36,000 ft in the air, slowly shaking my head at my inflight meal. I wonder, is this today’s most uncivilised eating experience, or have I just become a snob?

I’m frowning my way through a bottle of red ‘grape’ so cold it must have come straight from the cellars of the Knights Watch whilst attempting to spread frozen butter on a broken cracker with the same knife that I used to eat my (chicken?) mush with assorted side (vegetable?) mush, accompanied with some sort of solidified brown (gravy?) mush. Unable to operate normally with my elbows locked to my sides, I now have enough couscous down my trousers to keep me in nibbles for the rest of the journey. Does it get less civilised than this? Thankfully not so at the Loca Mexican brunch.

Can a brunch be civilised? Yes. Do you want it to be civilised? Hmmm.

Everyone has his or her own idea of what a perfect brunch should be. Some are Dirham driven; others value variety, quality or atmosphere; and for some it’s the constant replenishment of their glass that’s key.  Finding your perfect brunch could be like finding the Holy Grail.

Loca is a relaxed but lively Mexican restaurant and bar at the aforementioned mouthful of a title in Jumeirah. It’s one letter away from being Loco, but right now its brunch is some way away.  However, having also eaten there on a lively Friday night, I know this place can be a lot more jumping.

Wouldn’t it be nice if brunch just came to you? Don’t you hate it when you have to keep getting out of your seat to forage for your own food? How very uncivilised! Do you get annoyed waiting in line while slowpoke in front of you lifts every cloche in the buffet, meticulously inspecting the steamed vegetables for what seems like eternity, like steamed vegies have JUST been invented.

At Loca you can keep the table conversations flowing without losing people to the brunch vortex, as everything comes to you, no need to leave your seat for anything! Well apart from, you know….  This is what makes a good brunch for me, more time with your friends and family, the whole social aspect is king, great food and less hassle.

Mexican food can be notoriously heavy - surely a recipe for disaster at a brunch - however, at Loca the balance is right. Everything they served was inviting, light and in no way daunting.

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To start us off, fresh as fresh can be guacamole was prepared at our table, followed by three starter platters of bite-sized fish, meat and veggie mini delights, that impressed. Marinated Beef Tenderloin and grilled King fish Tacos, cheesy quesadillas, and delicious prawn skewers were just a few of the highlights. Delicate, lovingly presented, well seasoned and moreish, not in the slightest bit heavy and pretty as a picture. (See pretty pictures).

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You select your own main from a varied menu. There were the usual Mexican crowd pleasers such as burritos, enchiladas and fajitas, however I went for the slow roasted short ribs and my date opted for the tiger prawn salad. A stolen prawn told me both selections were sound. If I’m being picky, my ribs were a tad fatty and did leave me wanting more meat, but the addictive chipotle barbecue sauce saved the day.

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Brunch-style-stuffed by this point, a break was needed before dessert, a good opportunity to sample some of the liquid delicacies on offer. There are countless Margaritas in many guises available – and, be warned, they’re not of the usual watered down brunch variety - alongside an impressive selection of world beers. Dessert was pretty unnecessary by this point, but tasty and devoured never the less. I believe there was a cakey type thing and a crème caramel job. Ice cream? Maybe. And some other stuff.  It’s alright, I took pictures...

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Loca definitely has the ‘cool’ factor: rustic brick walls, well choreographed lighting and industrial pipes oozing coolness into every corner while Mexican black and white movies play silently behind well selected beats. I also hear there will be live music coming soon, which should give the daytime a bit of a boost.

The brunch Holy Grail? Loca and their refined Mexican brunch experience was pretty close to the mark. When that atmosphere jumps up a notch, it will definitely be the sociable brunch alternative to be reckoned with.

All words and pictures by Phil Seaton

Written By

Phil Seaton